The Bronx Defenders is a beloved institution in The Bronx as public defenders of the less fortunate. They have been at the forefront of advocacy for the community’s voiceless but now that’s all being tarnished because of the actions of a few.
The New York Times reports today:
A New York City investigation has concluded that two government-funded defense lawyers who appeared in a music video that promoted the killing of police officers knew beforehand that the lyrics supported deadly retribution for the death of Eric Garner.
The Department of Investigation found that the executive director of the legal organization, the Bronx Defenders, approved the organization’s involvement without reviewing the lyrics and later misled city officials about her role.
In a statement on Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio condemned “any endorsement of violence against police officers.”
“The administration has demanded Bronx Defenders take immediate action in response to the findings of D.O.I.,” Mr. de Blasio said. “Unless those actions are fully responsive to the serious issues raised here, the city will take all legal and contractual actions available to it.”
What’s unfortunate here is the fact Bronx Defenders Executive Director, Robin Steinberg is not taking accountability as the organization’s leader. As the executive director, she is ultimately responsible for anything done under the organization’s name.
The organization’s more than 250 employees, however, should not be held accountable for the actions of a few and their leader. I personally know many of these attorneys, case workers, and support staff who are hardworking individuals, often working long hours and weekends to serve the approximately 35,000 clients a year — all whom are some of the most vulnerable of our population.
These employees work day in and day out to make sure that these people get the legal help and chance that they deserve, whether it’s immigration cases, families facing evictions, wrongful arrests, or trying to keep families together.
It appears that the leadership of this organization has failed as per the investigation by the Department of Investigation but let us not crucify the vast majority who are fighting the good fight for the little guy. It is also incumbent upon these very good workers of the Bronx Defenders to not remain silent nor defend the actions of their leadership or else their silence will equal consent, just like we often criticize the good officers in the NYPD.
We cannot condone violence against ANYONE, civilian or law enforcement otherwise.
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